Danish duo Baime, consisting of Blindfold Recordings boss Jens Nørgaard and Mikael Melander, have been swiftly making their way up the musical ladder. It is fascinating to read their biography. Instead of your typical ‘they were born in x and done this’, it feels more like an old Norse saga. The mystical journey of Baime and the reasoning behind their ‘mystical’ sound, documented for all to see. We jumped at the opportunity to grab a few words with the Danes and find out a bit more about their influences, future releases and upcoming shows.
As always, I began the interview by asking how things were. “We are busy in the studio with our first live set and getting ready for the Festival season.” They replied. Ahead of their first full EP release together on Blindfold Recordings, I asked the Baime guys “In your own words, can you describe the Baime sound and what you try to achieve in your productions?” To which, a fascinating response was given. “We both have a varied taste in music but when we come together it becomes very melodic with a focus on sound design. It is important for us to keep the sound consistent but with playful variations. The sounds we create a from analogue synth, VST’s and the occasional live recording of percussion. Sometimes we use advanced effects on simple house objects such as kitchen appliances – we recently used a pot from the kitchen. Experimentation is what makes music fun.” It is clear to see that Baime have a really creative and out-of-the-box production process.
To me, Baime’s sound is very mystical, very alluring and absolutely memorable. I asked, “Do you think the importance of having a memorable, unique sound has been lost in the digital age, to some extent?” Baime’s response here was very interesting and full of wisdom…
“Sometimes new sounds and studio techniques become genres. We think it is important to try and stand out and to create a unique soundscape. No one is completely unique but we try to incorporate variations so we don’t sound like everyone else. If we were to copy too much it wouldn’t be as much fun. It is a bit of a risk standing out but it is one we are willing to take.”
We moved on to talk about the future, and I asked “What do you think could be done to change the music industry, in such a way, that pure creative talent is all that is required to breakthrough?”… “It is very difficult to say these days what could change the industry in that direction.” Baime began. “If you don’t have a commercial sound the financial backing is not there and the money you make is slim. The money that was in the business back in the day made it slightly easier because you could hire people to help you. Now, most upcoming artists have to become more than just musicians and producers. They need to be excellent at marketing, video editing, Photoshop and copywriting. Sorry to be so doom and gloom but is not an easy time for breaking through. The only way to give creative talent the opportunity is through collaborations with their extended network. We work with friends who are excellent in the fields we are not such as graphic design, photos, video etc. The keyword here is teamwork and networking. We are sorry we couldn’t come up with a new concept for the entire business!” We nearly got the breakthrough business idea though!
‘Forgiven’, being the debut EP release from Baime, naturally led me to ask the question of whether there were plans for more EP’s in the future?
“We have a lot of raw material that is being finished these days as part of our live set. There will definitely be more stuff coming out. We have been working together for roughly 3 years now and it started as a fun jam session in the studio and a lot of back to back DJ sets. Currently, we are working almost exclusively with Blindfold. Once we mature a bit more we might try some of the bigger labels that we respect. Sending tracks to a record label is about trust so if we feel that we can do a better job ourselves we keep it.”
A lot to be excited about in this instance!
I asked about label boss Pete Oak and what the lads thought it was about him that made him really stand out on the label. “Blindfold recordings was started by Pete and Jens and Mikael has since joined the team in 2016. Pete has a very unique approach to creating music. He likes recording long jam sessions and going through it after. This makes for interesting leads and basslines. His percussion is always interesting and the sheer energy he brings is quite unique. We are both fans of his work.” Pete is certainly an artist to admire!
In fact, there is quite a bit of excitement about Pete’s upcoming release on Blindfold which I just had to ask about. “The release coming out is a single release with Kellerkind on remix duties. It is a slightly new direction and bit more afro-centric with the drum sections. The last few years his tracks have had a really raw dark energy. This release is slightly softer and is maybe a call back to his roots as a songwriter. We love it when he sings and this one is a great showcase of his vocal talent. Kellerkind is someone we have been secretly in love with for a long time. Pete reached out to him and luckily he said yes to give it is magical touch. Blindfold is our baby so we are super happy when releases like this come together. The label has undergone a lot of change as we are focusing more on fewer releases and really giving them our full attention. We would like to think this shows with the music we are putting out. Custom hand-drawn artwork, high-quality mastering and a big push om the promotional side.”
Baime’s consistency in the studio has also seen them land some huge gigs this summer, including one at the massive Roskilde festival! “Let’s talk about your upcoming appearance at the riveting Roskilde festival. Has it always been a goal of yours to play at Roskilde? What do you think makes it such a special event?” I asked. “Roskilde festival is by far the most prestigious festival to play at here in Denmark and apparently the biggest in northern Europe – at least that is what Wikipedia says. We didn’t believe it when the email popped into our mailbox. To be honest we thought it was spam. It is a massive honour and a big pat on the back. Roskilde festival is special because they have an extremely wide music profile. You might not know all the names playing but you will get inspired walking around the different stages. The camping area is also a place that makes the festival stand out. You can bring your own sound system, so the parties going on there will often be huge and super fun.”
I also asked who the guys were most excited to go see at Roskilde. “There are a lot of the bigger acts we haven’t seen before so we are looking forward to checking out Massive Attack, Four Tet, Nathan Fake, James Holden and Maribou State. Locally we can’t wait to hear When Saints go Machine, B from E and the Regelbau DJ crew including DJ Sports. Denmark is sort of divided into a myriad of genres but each of them has dedicated and super talented producers and DJs. We think it is starting to show as more and more get noticed abroad.”
Blindfold are well known for releasing a mixture of top talent, but also nurturing the future stars. The Night Vision EP was a great example of this. “What can we expect to see from Night Vision II?” I asked…
“The idea with Night Vision is to showcase both sides of the talent pool. We noticed that it can be very hard to get people to listen to unknown artists, so we decided to make this mini compilation to give them a boost. Baime was part of the first Night Vision and it sure did wonders for us. On the next one, we will be doing the same. We got Outcome from Croatia that we are really digging these days. The total track list is not done so we can reveal too much, yet. We do look forward to catapulting this one in the fall.”
There has also been some excitement over a label showcase which has been planned for some time. “Right now we are still trying to find venues for our showcases but we expect to have it locked down before summer. We both live in Copenhagen (Mikael and JC) so it makes sense to do showcases here. There are only two dedicated clubs in Copenhagen that fit our profile so we don’t have much choice here. When we do showcases we like to make it very personal. This is as much a celebration of the music as it is a way for the artists to meet each other. The meal before the show is usually home cooked burgers done by Pete. I think the keyword here is family. We like it to be personal and friendly. Line-up is not confirmed yet but it will be Blindfold related artists of course.” Clearly, a lot to be excited about this summer!
I am always interested in finding out the psychology behind teamwork. Just what goes into making a successful partnership has always been one that fascinates me. I asked, for a bit of fun, “Can you each list your top three qualities about each other that make your partnership so strong?” Jens led with “Mikael is an amazing talent in the studio finding new sounds. He is an expert networker or party animal – whatever you want to call it. He is the risk taker and helps push me out of my comfort zone.’ Whereas Mikael stated ‘The perfect opposite of me and good at doing all the “boring” (important) stuff and really good to keep me grounded. Track selector, organizer and best buddy! I don’t we would have gotten this far and further without him.”
I was absolutely delighted to get the opportunity to chat with the rising stars known as Baime. They certainly have a lot going for them and their work is truly inspiring. It is very exciting to see such a talented duo on the brink of breaking through to the world stage and we, at Decoded, will be watching and supporting every step of the way.